Everyone is worried about robots stealing manufacturing jobs, but the real value (and threat) in robots may lie in whether they can become smart enough to actually think on their own.
One of the major milestones in creating human level intelligence is for machines to attain self-awareness. And Columbia University’s Creative Machines Lab may have already done it. “These robots learn overtime, to stimulate themselves in a future situation they haven’t actually experienced.” said Dr. Hod Lipson, the mechanical engineering professor leading the lab’s push to create self-aware robots.
“In other words, they don’t have to learn by doing,” Lipson told VICE News. “They can learn by thinking.”
The robotics department at UC Berkley has made similar advancements with their self-teaching robot BRETT. Using trial and error, BRETT can learn how to fold laundry, assemble LEGO blocks and fit pegs into a hole.
From a technological standpoint, these advancements are exciting, but they raise an important philosophical question: If humans create machines whose intelligence surpasses our own, will we be able to control them?
VICE’s Hamilton Morris explores how robotics and the computers that power them are poised for an extraordinary leap forward with the emergence of artificial intelligence, and how humanity can reconcile the huge risks and possibilities that will follow.
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